Theater Reviews

Review: “Beaches”

Review: “Beaches”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace When: through Aug. 16 Tickets: $45-$60 Phone: 630-530-0111 “Beaches,” which is having its “pre-Broadway” Chicago premiere at Drury Lane Theatre, is a quintessential opposites-attract, female-bonding musical. That’s both its appeal and its Achilles heel. Based on the novel by Iris Rainer Dart that also(…)

“The Diary of Anne Frank”

“The Diary of Anne Frank”

RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre, Books of Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe When: through Aug. 16 Tickets: $35-$70 Phone: 847-242-6000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic While Writers Theatre is building an ultramodern new home, the ambitious Glencoe company is also showing off how much it has been able to accomplish in its tiny original space at(…)

Review: “All Our Tragic”

Review: “All Our Tragic”

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Where: Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. When: through Aug. 16 Tickets: $125, available at the-hypocrites.com The Hypocrites’ “All Our Tragic” should be required viewing for anyone interested in theater. After seeing the world premiere of artistic director Sean Graney’s mash-up of all 32 surviving Greek tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides last(…)

Review: “Kinky Boots”

RECOMMENDED Where: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. When: through July 26 Tickets: $25-$108 Phone: 800-775-2000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic When I reviewed the pre-Broadway premiere of “Kinky Boots” at the Bank of America Theatre in 2012, I praised the concept, the music and lyrics by pop idol Cyndi Lauper, David Rockwell’s scenic(…)

Review: “Inana”

Review: “Inana”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: TimeLine Theatre Company, 615 W. Wellington Ave. When: through July 26 Tickets: $39-$52 Phone: 773-281-8463 By Anne Spiselman Theater Critic Just read the papers or watch the news, and it seems like irreplaceable antiquities are being destroyed every day. The precious remains of human history and culture are blown up by invaders,(…)

Review: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

Review: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theater, 170 N. Dearborn St, When: through Aug. 2 Tickets: $27-$79 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic You don’t have to be a Chekhov aficionado to enjoy Goodman Theatre’s Chicago premiere of Christopher Durang’s 2013 Tony Award-winning “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” but it helps. Durang mixes, matches, and mashes(…)

Review: “Doubt: A Parable”

RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre at Glencoe Union Church, 263 Park Ave. When: through July 19 Tickets: $35-$75 Phone: 773-975-8150 What’s a moral person to do when she becomes absolutely convinced that a great evil is being perpetrated even though she has no concrete proof and the powers that be make it impossible to rectify the(…)

Review: “The Birds”

Review: “The Birds”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Griffin Theatre Company at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. When: through July 19 Tickets: $35 Phone: 773-975-8150 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Strangers stuck in claustrophobic surroundings with little chance of escape: It is a perfect scenario for a psychological thriller. Add the imminent apocalypse courtesy of terrifying creatures right outside,(…)

Review: “Goldfish”

Review: “Goldfish”

RECOMMENDED Where: Route 66 Theatre Company at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through July 12 Tickets: $39-$43 Phone: 773-404-7336 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I went to see Route 66 Theatre Company’s local premiere of John Kolvenbach’s “Goldfish” mostly because two of the top actors working in Chicago, Francis Guinan and(…)

Review: “The Who & the What”

RECOMMENDED Where: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through July 12 Tickets: $15-$60 Phone: 773-871-3000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Generational and cultural differences between a father and his two daughters drive “The Who & the What” by Ayad Akhtar, whose Pulitzer Prize-winning “Disgraced” got its start at American Theatre Company, went on(…)

Review: “On Your Feet”

RECOMMENDED Where: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. When: through July 5 Tickets: $33-$100 Phone: 800-773-2000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If you’re a fan of Gloria and Emilio Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, the pre-Broadway world premiere of “On Your Feet” is likely to … well, bring you to your feet, as it(…)

Review: “stop. reset.”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre Owen Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through June 21 Tickets: $10-$40 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Think of Regina Taylor’s “stop. reset.” as a realistic play, and you’re bound to be confused. Regard it instead as a cross between an “Afrofuturist” science-fiction fantasy and a meditation on(…)

Review: “The Secret Garden”

RECOMMENDED Where: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. When: through June 21 Tickets: $45-$65 Phone: 773-753-4472 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic “The Secret Garden” has never been one of my favorite shows. Marsha Norman (book and lyrics) and Lucy Simon’s (music) 1991 musical based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 children’s novel has always struck me(…)

Review: “The Projects”

Review: “The Projects”

RECOMMENDED Where: American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron St. When: through June 21 Tickets: $43-$48 Phone: 773-409-4125 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I’ve been trying to appreciate the world premiere of “The Project(s)” at American Theater Company for what it is rather than getting hung up on what it purports to be. According to artistic(…)

Review: “The Little Foxes”

Review: “The Little Foxes”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through June 7 Tickets: $25-$81 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Rapaciousness rules in “The Little Foxes,” Lillian Hellman’s 1939 play about the greedy Hubbard family, perhaps best known from the 1941 film starring Bette Davis as Regina Giddens. In Goodman Theatre’s delectably entertaining production(…)

Review: “The Herd”

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through June14 Tickets: $20-$86 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic In the hands of a lesser company than Steppenwolf Theatre, the U.S. premiere of actor-playwright Rory Kinnear’s first play, “The Herd,” might come across as just another dysfunctional family drama. But director Frank(…)

Review: “Sense and Sensibility”

RECOMMENDED Where: Chicago SHakespeare Theater, Navy Pier When: through June 14 Tickets: $48-$88 Phone: 312-595-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic The world premiere of the musical “Sense and Sensibility” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater is like a sumptuous feast that somehow leaves you unsatisfied. Based on the 1811 novel by the beloved Jane Austen, the show(…)

Review: “Louis and Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara”

Review: “Louis and Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara”

RECOMMENDED Where: Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. When: through May 17 Tickets: $65 Phone: 312-988-9000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic From the title “Louis and Keely ‘Live’ at the Sahara,” you might expect a recreation of a show Louis Prima and Keely Smith performed at the titular Las Vegas hotel during their 1950s(…)

Review: “First Date”

SLIGHTLY RECOMMENDED Where: Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. When: through May 17 Tickets: $15-$59 Phone: 312-988-9000 Judging by the enthusiasm of the opening-night crowd, there’s undoubtedly a local audience for “First Date,” the 90-minute musical with a book by Austin Winsberg (TV’s “Gossip Girl”) and music and lyrics by Alan Zachary and Michael(…)

Review: “Marie Antoinette”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through May 10 Tickets: $20-$86 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic What are we to make of “Marie Antoinette”? That’s the question I kept asking myself as I watched the Chicago premiere of David Adjmi’s play about France’s doomed last queen at(…)